Learning Rope

Type of Activity:  Processing, Front-Loading

Props Needed: A long rope, at least 3/8 inch diameter. Many hardware stores sell colorful, inexpensive rope.  You need about 50 feet of rope for this activity.

Process:  At the very onset of your program day, place an overhand knot in the rope for every piece of knowledge the group is presented with – something that has the potential to be learned.

For example, at the beginning of the program you might present the Five Finger Contract (see, Laurie Frank’s, The Journey Towards the Caring Classroom). A knot goes in the rope to remind us of Safety, another for Commitment, one for Respect, another for Responding and the final one for Encouragement. We talk about each concept before adding another knot.

As more knots go into the rope we review the previous knots to instill reminders of what has been important to remember.

This rope travels around the program with the group.

It can be used in a variety of helpful ways during other activities. WARNING: If you plan to reuse the rope for another group you might want to tie figure 8 knots for each piece of information and then make sure there is not much stress put on the rope.

Variation:  If you are looking for a nice giveaway, and can find the inexpensive haul line, space the knots out along the rope with at least 6 inches between the knots. It won’t matter how much stress you put on the rope since you want the knots to stay in. During the close of your program, discuss how the rope and the information in the knots helped out during the program. With a little “experiential magic” transfer the knowledge from each knot into the rest of the rope and all the other knots – so every knot has all the knowledge. Then, with a sharp scissors, have each participant cut off one of the knots and tell the groups what knowledge in the knot will help them the most.



For more resources see:  A Teachable Moment 

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